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What are you watching right now? Why? (please read 1st post)

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Joined: 02 Oct 2012
Posts: 105
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:42 pm Reply with quote
I'm watching Skull Man. Surprisingly enough, for a blind buy, it's not too bad. The show begins mysteriously enough, without any real explanations given, leaving the viewer to figure things out for themselves.

The artwork is handled competently by Studio Bones. The monsters and the Skull Man himself are well drawn. Not bad for a bargain bin item.

Surprisingly enough, this seems to have something to do with Kamen Rider. I didn't want to read any more about this series, so as to avoid spoilers.
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Location: Where the rain is.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:24 pm Reply with quote
your reaction makes me Crying or Very sad
Well, some directors/styles just don't float some people's boats. That's too bad. But you were one of the people who originally recommended Princess Tutu to me so I can forgive you Very Happy.

My theory about the second-hand clothes is that spoiler[it has something to do with the Haibane's life in Grie being their second chance. I've always thought it was an allegory. Second-hand clothes for their second chance.] And I agree that having so little explained is annoying. I loved the show after my first watch-through, but the lack of explanation for many of the mysteries frustrated me.
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:22 pm Reply with quote
Well, Zac himself noted that Haibane Renmei is not for everyone.....
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Location: body in Ohio, heart in Sydney
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:18 am Reply with quote
It's probably uncontroversial, but maybe still unsatisfactory, to point out that an overarching purpose of the mysteries in Haibane Renmei is just to evoke the mysterious aspect of existence. What with the show being an allegory of the human condition, and all.
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Joined: 28 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:52 pm Reply with quote
The Fall 2012 Season has quite a few shows that have sparked my interest and I find myself with quite an extensive currently watching list.

Weekly anime I watch that are ongoing;

One Piece
Fairy Tail
Hunter X Hunter 2012
Naruto Shippuuden
Space Brothers
Sword Art Onine

New shows that I am currently enjoying from the Fall 2012 list;

Ixion Saga DT
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
Shinsekai yori
Zetsuen no Tempest
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun
Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de

17 shows currently O.o, hope I can keep up on all of them! Cool
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Joined: 25 May 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:30 pm Reply with quote
As the rules state listing is not allowed. You do need to at least provide a little something with the titles you list. How far are you? Are you enjoying it so far? Why? Why not? And so on and so forth. Not asking for an essay, but at least a little content to the post that adds to the discussion.
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:43 pm Reply with quote
I see that you are a lurker. Cool Welcome to the fora! Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:16 pm Reply with quote
I just saw Episode 1 of Psycho Pass. And to be honest, I liked some of it, the ideas remind me a bit of Minority Report, but there was a lot of really awkward exposition scenes and the usual "naive female doesn't want to hurt the bad guy" scenes that gets really grating. The character in question was supposed to be a top police academy graduate, right? Well it doesn't show. Still, I'm gonna tune in next week when Hulu uploads Episode 2.
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Joined: 15 Jan 2012
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Location: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:52 pm Reply with quote
Let's see:

Magi-The selling point for me was the summary. I just had to see how it would play out. I'm really liking everything about this series so far: story, art, and the characters.

My Little Monster-It's hard for me to find a shojo series and stick with it, but I find this show refreshing because the characters are so likable.

Robotics;Notes-In all honestly, I'm not really sure what drew me to this one. It was simply a case of "Why not?" I have no idea if I'll stick with this one.

Psycho Pass-The science fiction element was the selling point for me and I love the animation. Yeah, the main character Akane is kind of annoying, but it makes sense since she's a rookie.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:22 pm Reply with quote
Beatdigga wrote:
I just saw Episode 1 of Psycho Pass. And to be honest, I liked some of it, the ideas remind me a bit of Minority Report, but there was a lot of really awkward exposition scenes and the usual "naive female doesn't want to hurt the bad guy" scenes that gets really grating. The character in question was supposed to be a top police academy graduate, right? Well it doesn't show. Still, I'm gonna tune in next week when Hulu uploads Episode 2.

Yeah, I'm pretty disappointed in Gen Urobuchi for how clunky the script was for the first episode (which is the only one that I've watched thus far). The premise is good, the themes are good, but the exposition and narrative are not too hot.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:07 pm Reply with quote
Finished watching Skull Man. I can't help thinking that I would have gotten a lot more out of the series if I had some background knowledge of Kamen Rider. I read a bit of the info on Wikipedia, and it seemed interesting enough. I wouldn't mind a sequel.

I started watching Fantastic Children. I'm not sure what it is with the Japanese. It's yet another show with a mysterious opening sequence. The character design is odd and takes a bit of getting used to. I think I'll stick with it and see where it goes.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:40 pm Reply with quote
Jon182 wrote:
I started watching Fantastic Children. I'm not sure what it is with the Japanese. It's yet another show with a mysterious opening sequence. The character design is odd and takes a bit of getting used to. I think I'll stick with it and see where it goes.

It's actually quite a good show, I'm glad that you're sticking with it.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:30 am Reply with quote
Space Battleship Yamato (1974)

Reason for watching: If you can be bothered ploughing through this post you may think the more pertinent question is why it has taken me 38 years to finally get around to watching it for the first time.

Please bear with me as I digress prior to giving my specific thoughts on the anime series. There is a point to the digressions.

Imperial Japanese Battleship Yamato

When I was a young lad (from about 11) one of my hobbies was building World War 2 battleship model kits – a love I picked up from a step-uncle. With my uncle and among my friends we would discuss whether the Hood was unlucky and whether the Bismarck was the greatest battleship ever built. In the pursuit of this hobby I learned about the existence of a ship that not only surpassed all the others but was on a gobsmackingly different plane of existence altogether – the Yamato. Thanks to the Washington Naval Treaty, battleships had been limited to 35,000 tons (the Hood at 42,000 tons was granted an exemption). In the mid 1930s the Japanese abandoned the treaty and laid down the Yamato and its sister ship the Musashi, which were to be 70,000 tons – twice the size of existing battleships. (Subsequently, other nations abandoned the treaty and built large ships. The largest of the rest – still at only 52,000 tons – was the American Iowa class.) With a main armament of 18.1”, these two behemoths far exceeded any rival, the best of which were 16” but more frequently 15” or 14”. (18 to 14 may not seem like a large difference. The hitting power of a shell is approximately a product of a shell’s mass, which is a product of its volume. All else being equal, an 18” shell has twice the volume and mass of a 14” shell.) Not only did the Yamato have much thicker armour than any other ship it was also far beamier, allowing for much greater compartmentalisation and thus less likely to suffer from catastrophic flooding. Never mind that a battleship is a fleet ship (as opposed to a cruising ship) and it’s the quality of the fleet that matters in war, not the quality of its best two ships – in a protracted war the Americans, with their productive might, would inevitably have a greater fleet. Never mind that by the time the Yamato was commissioned (14 December 1941) it had already been made obsolete by the aircraft carrier as demonstrated by the British at Taranto on 11-12 November 1940 and proven comprehensively by the Japanese themselves at Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941. (Those events took place while the Italian and US battleships were in harbour. The Yamato was the first battleship sunk by carrier-borne aircraft while under steam at sea and with complete freedom of movement.)

Anyway, the point of this exercise is to demonstrate that, from an early age, I held the Yamato in complete awe. It was the likely beginning of my fascination with Japanese technology and culture – later enhanced by my appreciation of Japanese motorcycle-building prowess. The Yamato’s capacity to transcend the everyday and enter the legendary realm is an essential part of what makes the anime so powerful. My affinity with this perception of the great ship, I think, gives me some insight into how powerful it is in the consciousness of the Japanese.

My most recent model of Yamato, some of my literature on the subject, and some other important ships in the
development of the battleship for comparison. Yes, I have interests outside anime. Neat, though, when I can
combine interests. The ships are to the same scale.

Requiem for Battleship Yamato

Among the books in the photo above I want to mention this one as it reinforces the point I’m trying to make. It was written by Yoshida Mitsuru, a junior naval officer stationed on the bridge for the Yamato’s final voyage to Okinawa. He was one of 280 survivors from a crew of about 3,000. I think it is one of the great literary works of World War 2. It is terse, written largely in the present tense, uses the bungotai literary style and is imbued with a quiet rage at the moral affrontery of war in general and this doomed mission in particular. Yoshida would later write passionately as a pacifist. (The translation, along with very useful notes, is by Richard Minear.)

The name Yamato refers to a region within Japan. It is also a literary term for Japan itself. The Japanese title of the book is 戦艦大和ノ最期 (Senkan Yamato-no Saigo or The Last Moments of Battleship Yamato). The allusion to the last moments of Meiji Restoration Japan as a viable concept is obvious. Yoshido later said,

That aspect of things in which Japan – the Japanese - excels and that aspect of things in which Japan is very, how shall I say it, very one-sided: both aspects were present in the extreme in the death of Yamato. On thinking back after the fact, that is, I had that feeling. In that sense, you see, the death of Yamato had elements of the symbolic.

Yoshida first attempted to publish a version of Requiem in November 1946 while Japan was subject to occupation. Unsurprisingly, it was banned. The censor wrote,

The young author reports, it seems, anything and everything he saw and as he heard with his own eyes and with his own ears. There is very little exaggeration, if any, but the effect is penetrating and touching… Here is an instance of the Japanese military spirit… viewed from the inside. The simple attitude of the author and the vivid style as well as the extremely impressive contents themselves cannot fail to arouse in the mind of the readers something like a deep regret for the great lost battleship, and who can be sure that the warlike portion of the Japanese do not yearn after another war in which they may give another Yamato a better chance?

The final, complete version was published in 1952.

Space Battleship Yamato

Synopsis: In 2199 The earth has been subject to meteor attack by forces from the planet Gamilus prior to invasion. The bombardment has evaporated the oceans, leaving the surface of the earth an arid, cratered wasteland. Living underground has provided only a temporary reprieve for survivors as radiation from the bombardment is seeping downwards. The human race is expected to die off within a year. A message is received from another planet – Iskandar – where a promise is made to provide a radiation purifier if only the humans could travel there to obtain it. The message also includes instructions on building a faster-than-light engine and a weapon of stupendous destructive power. A spaceship is built from the shell of the once sunken (now exposed) World War 2 battleship and the intrepid crew takes off for the Large Magellanic Cloud where both Gamilus and Iskandar are located. On the journey the Yamato and its crew must face ever more powerful opposition from the Gamilusians.

Sister planets Iskandar and Gamilus. Last Exile, anyone?

Space Battleship Yamato seems to have come about through a partnership between creator Yoshinobu Nishizaki and credited directors Noboru Ishiguro (Legend of the Galactic Heroes) and Leiji Matsumoto (Galaxy Express 999). (Mike Toole has written extensively about them in his column – it’s worth chasing them up.) With these men at the helm it should come as no surprise that the star of the series isn’t ship captain Okita or his hot-headed deputy Kodai; it’s the ship itself – the Yamato. Like Galaxy Express (and the entire Leijiverse, for that matter) or Legend of the Galactic Heroes, what drives this series isn’t the characters or the plot or the conflict – it’s myth creation and, at the core of the myth, is the mighty namesake battleship. From its basis on the World War 2 battleship, to its planet smashing wave-motion gun, to its seeming indestructibility (it somehow seems to have an inexhaustible ability re-grow destroyed superstructure: blown-up or dissolved in one scene; back again the next), to its intergalactic wave-motion engine, the Yamato is always there, always dependable. No matter the travails of the crew or the potency of the enemy, the Yamato remains indefatigable. In the darkest moments, all that it is needed is a screen image of the ship to reassure me that all will be well. It’s kind of like a mirror of moeru. Where a successful moe character only needs to appear to create a sense of protectiveness within me, the Yamato only needed to appear to create a sense of being protected. Just as I found myself rooting for Taiga in Toradora! I found myself constantly rooting for the Yamato. I think it’s a remarkable achievement.

This sense of myth unfolding before one’s eyes reaches a climax in the extraordinary episode 22. The Yamato is attacked by three Gamilusian carriers, a hybrid carrier / battleship (a very Japanese thing that) and the flagship battleship. Yes, the battle is replete with dive-bombers and torpedo bombers, bearing some resemblance to their World War 2 counterparts, including gull-wing Stuka look alikes. As in the 1945 Okinawa battle, wave upon wave of spacecraft attack the stricken Yamato. The battle became so intense and my emotional investment in the ship was such that by the halfway mark I had a break for a while. It was as if the creators were able to finally assuage that yearning for “another war in which they may give another Yamato a better chance” as posited by that allied censor all those years before.

The breathtaking climax to the Battle of the Rainbow Star Cluster (episode 22).

Having raved on for so long I must point out that the series has many, many faults. It was made in 1974, after all, and the artwork, animation, storytelling, characterisation and music all seem primitive by today standards, even if they were all somewhat better than I feared. While some of the incidental music sounds like second rate 1970s progressive rock, I came to like the theme song, which not only promoted a suitable fervour for the ship but also proved a very fertile source for much of the rest of the incidental music. Keep your musical motifs short and you can do a lot with them!

When I realised early in the series that main character, Susumu Kodai, was voiced by Kei Tomiyama I could only imagine him thereafter as a young Yang Wen-li who hadn’t yet had any sense knocked into him. The characters vary between Matsumoto eccentric (all the women, Dr Sado, Captain Okita) to Ishiguro mundane (most everyone else). It didn’t matter because this isn’t really about characters; it’s about character types in the creation of a myth.

Similarly the Leijiverse penchant for continuity lapses (those reappearing superstructures among other things) and a cavalier disregard for the laws of physics (did the creators understand the concepts of gravity or the conservation of momentum?) don’t really matter in the course of myth creation. Add to that two outrageous Lazarus moments and there is much to be sceptical about Space Battleship Yamato. I’m also still trying to figure out how science officer Sanada managed to paint the entire battleship with reflective paint without anyone knowing. And while the ship was travelling at faster than the speed of light, to boot.

Anime fanservice: it was ever thus. Analyser the robot harasses Yuki Mori,
Environmental Officer and all-purpose woman on the bridge.

Watching Space Battleship Yamato was also fun in locating it within the science fiction realm. It aired fully a year and a half before Star Wars opened and I wonder if George Lucas was familiar with it. The US version, Star Blazers, didn’t get aired until 1979 so I suspect not. Nevertheless they share many qualities and themes. Perhaps they were both products of the Zeitgeist. Be that as it may, the meteor bombs come straight out of the 1955 sci-fi classic, This Island Earth. In an early episode (first aired in October 1974) the viewer is introduced to the Yamato’s holo deck, years before Star Trek Second Generation. I mentioned this to a Trekkie friend who told me that Star Trek the Animation introduced a holo deck around the same time. Checking Wikipedia confirms that the particular episode – The Practical Joker – aired in September 1974. Did either know about the other? Or was it just a form of convergent evolution?

Having watched both Martian Successor Nadesico and Irresponsible Captain Tylor, it’s now easy to see their inspiration. Matsumoto’s own later series continue his obsessions outlined in Space Battleship Yamato. Of those I’ve seen only Galaxy Express 999 surpasses this effort, largely because the two main characters – Tetsuro and Maetel – transcend their character type limitations. Similarly, the debt Ishiguro’s Legend of the Galactic Heroes owes to Space Battleship Yamato is enormous (even if it too is superior) not just because Kodai and Yang have the same voice actor, and not just because the villains have Germanic names. Again it’s the deliberate mythmaking, but you can add to that certain elements of its visual style and characterisation. Like the Galactic Empire admirals, the Gamilusian military leaders are usually defeated because of their own hubris. There were a couple of instances of the Yamato crew saving the day by pulling rabbits from hats (the reflective paint escape being the most egregious) but mostly the Gamilusians are the instigators of their own demise.

Lastly, the denouement was altogether too short and spoiled by one of the unnecessary Lazarus moments. Sure, I could see the metaphor for the resurrected Earth but I would have much preferred fewer miracles and more of the real thing. An extended sequence of the earth being reborn would have made for a much more ecstatic ending.

Rating: good – for all its technical shortcomings I enjoyed this tremendously.

Note: The wreck of the IJN Yamato has been discovered since the series aired. A catastrophic explosion broke the ship into four parts which lie separated on the ocean floor. The bridge has completely collapsed into pieces.

Hellsing Ultimate episodes 7 & 8

In his recent review of the blu-ray release of episodes 1 to 4, Carl Kimlinger noted that there will always be viewers for whom this series just doesn’t work. I’m one of them. To me excess and absurdity for their own sake are tedious. The blood and gore and violence don’t bother me in the least. It just all seems shallow and pointless. I got the picture early in the series. Now, it’s humdrum. Of the two episodes, 7 is the better because we finally see Seras Victoria embrace her vampiric nature. It’s not simply that she gets to strut her latent powers, but the role Bernadotte plays in her awakening provides some emotional clout mostly absent elsewhere in the series. Episode 8 returns to the formulaic escalation of mayhem. The ending themes, a feature of earlier episodes, have also become run of the mill.

Last edited by Errinundra on Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:06 pm; edited 12 times in total
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Joined: 05 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:33 am Reply with quote
Finished: Bleach

I was behind on this one, so, I marathoned from episodes 273 to conclusion, but skipped over the final filler arc. I have to say that I enjoyed it a lot. Sure, it's a typical shonen fighting series, but I liked it to pieces, though, given my username, you'd figure that I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed spoiler[Byakuya's battle with Tsukishima], even if it was over pretty quickly. Was very satisfied with the ending. I'm holding out hope that the final manga arc will be animated, but I'm not expecting it.

Other shows I'm watching:

Eureka 7: Astral Ocean: Really like this so far. Can't say too much about this as I'm only 8 episodes in (and currently way behind. In fact I might go back and start from the beginning, just for the sake of my memory) but I like what I've seen thus far.

Psycho-Pass Watched the first 3 episodes yesterday. I agree with previous posters that have said the exposition in episode 1 was terrible. Tsunemori absolutely infuriated me throughout, though I found her more tolerable in episodes 2-3. So there are some definite flaws, but I like it. I'll likely stick it out to see where it goes.

Code: Breaker Like Psycho-Pass, I watched the first 3 episodes yesterday. The premise is interesting, though I'm not totally hooked on it yet, but I'll keep watching.

Still keeping up with Naruto Shippuden as well, though I kind of do that out of habit at this point, though I'm all caught up with it. I'm getting a little bored with it, but it still manages to entertain me, so I figure there's no sense in dropping it.

Also watched the first episode of Is this a Zombie? 2 yesterday. I loved the first season, which is really kind of surprising because I'm not normally into this type of show. I really like the humor though, found myself laughing out loud several times and while I wasn't completely wowed by episode 1, I'll definitely keep watching.
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Joined: 28 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:15 am Reply with quote
Clannad, because i have watched it once before, but i still find it as heart-warming and tear-jerking as whenn i first warched it Crying or Very sad
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